A day shy of the first anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari today pledged that his administration would defeat the Islamist insurgent group, Boko Haram. Members of the group were responsible for the abductions and have carried out numerous acts of carnage and terrorism especially in Nigeria’s northeast zone.
In a statement released today from his country home, Daura in Katsina State, Mr. Buhari stated, “Today we remember the kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Chibok one year ago. This crime has rightly caused outrage both in Nigeria and across the world.”
Mr. Buhari, who scored a decisive victory in Nigeria’s presidential election on March 28, added that it was “a time to reflect on the pain and suffering of the victims, their friends and families.” He assured them that “Our thoughts and prayers, and that of the whole Nigerian Nation, are with you today.”
The president-elect stated that his administration would “do everything we can to defeat Boko Haram. We will act differently from the Government we replace: we hear the anguish of our citizens and intend to respond accordingly.”
He added: “This new approach must also begin with honesty. We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my Government will do everything in its power to bring them home.
“What I can pledge, with absolute certainty, is that starting on the first day of my Administration Boko Haram will know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas.”
Mr. Buhari’s statement asserted that Boko Haram, whose name stands for “Western education is sinful,” would be “defeated militarily,” adding that his government would thereafter “ensure our citizens in the affected areas have improved educational opportunities as a direct counterbalance to Boko Haram’s twisted ideology.” He promised to focus on the education of young girls, “ensuring they are empowered as citizens of Nigeria.”
Mr. Buhari’s statement said it was important to use the anniversary of the abductions to restate, “the attack on Chibok was an attack on the dreams and aspirations of our young people.
“We stand united in our pledge to resist terror in Nigeria– not just through military means but also through the power of opportunity and the hope of a better future for all.”